Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. It is the normal human reaction that happens to everyone. When we experience challenges or even changes, our body is bound to produce physical and mental responses, that is what we call stress.

The responses that our body produces to these changes can be positive or negative, it can keep us motivated and prepared to avoid danger. For example, if you have an important interview, you may begin to feel mentally stressed, which will make your body work harder by staying awake to prepare and study for your interview. Stress will generate two responses either fight or flight.

Many life situations and events can cause stress. Stress is often triggered when we feel we do not have the control we will love to have over a situation.

These are some common causes of stress.

  • Pressure
  • When you worry about happenings around you
  • When you feel you are not able to control a situation
  • In times of uncertainty
  • When you are overwhelmed by responsibilities
  • Poor health
  • Loss of job
  • Increase in financial obligation
  • Emotional problems

Being a mother, parent, career person can come with a lot of responsibilities, and these can seem to be overwhelming and lead to stress. When this is not properly managed we transfer it over to those around us in our responses and reactions to them.

Stress becomes a problem when the stressors continue without relief or periods of relaxation.

These are some symptoms to let you know that you are stressed

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attack
  • Sadness
  • High blood pressure
  • Stomach or digestive symptoms
  • Aches and pains
  • Not paying attention
  • Easily angered

Managing stress must be intentional, we must understand that we need not stress over situations we have no control over. We need to know that over time continued stress can strain the body and may lead to serious health problems. Stressing over things has never produced the results we desire, but since this is part of our body system, we need to come up with ways in which we will manage our stress levels. There are both positive and negative ways people handle stress; the negative ways could include drinking alcohol, gambling, overeating, pornography, smoking, using drugs.

There are positive ways in which we can apply in managing stress.

  • Understand your body, how much you can handle per time
  • Exercise daily: this has an overall effect on our bodies, but in particular, it pumps up endorphins that helps the brain feel good
  • Time management:  effective time management can help out with stress because it helps to reduce long-term stress by giving you direction on how to allocate your time 
  • Healthy eating; when we eat healthily we can reduce the negative effect of stress. Stress can result in inflammation sometimes, hence having the right diet that helps minimize inflammation is important.
  • Get enough sleep; it is a powerful stress reducer forming a regular sleep routine that can calm and restore the body.
  • Practice relaxation; deep breathing, meditation are good ways we can calm ourselves. It is an opportunity to refocus our minds.
  • Learn how to say No to things you cannot handle: you cannot do everything, only say yes to the things you can handle and do not take more than you handle.
  • Surround yourself with positive people: have your ears open to the right and positive things especially when you are overwhelmed and this is only possible when you have the right people around you. Also with this people are open to talk and ease out the stress sometimes.

Stressing over things we do not have control over is a time-wasting technique. Every point in time we spend stressing over a situation, we also can channel that energy towards doing something positive about it, or engaging in one of the ways listed above for managing stress.

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